Content Marketing Blog

Google to pay web browsers for surfing the net

Privacy is a major issue for internet users and one that is hotly debated in chat rooms, on social media sites and in people's private email conversations around the globe.

And while some individuals push for transparency by encouraging people to use their real names online, others are supporters of the anonymity that comes with virtual communication.

But irrespective of which side of the side you sit on, it seems that a large number of people are concerned about the blurring lines between internet privacy and advertising.

Only this week concerns about companies encroaching on the private lives of individuals came into contention yet again, with an announcement by Google that the search engine is planning to pay web users for information on their browsing habits.

A recent statement from the company outlined the finer details of its new Screenwise program, which will remunerate 'panellists' with Amazon gift cards up to a value of US$25.

So far the announcement has received mixed reviews, with some commentators questioning the timing of the decision.

Search Engine Land wrote: "The timing of this program seems odd, especially considering the backlash that Google has faced over the upcoming changes to its privacy policy.

"Even though this Screenwise program is completely opt-in, some critics are bound to question why Google needs more data about web searchers and the websites they visit."

Regulators in Europe have reportedly called on the search giant to make changes to its privacy policy, while the Electronic Privacy Information Center in the US is attempting to sue the Federal Trade Commission in order to try and stop its changes from being implemented.

But despite attacks being levelled at them from what seems like all quarters, the company is adamant that its user protocols are in the best interest of the internet and its client base.

"We take privacy very seriously. We're happy to engage in constructive conversations about our updated privacy policy," a spokesperson for the company said.

Posted by Aimee McBride